The ceramic street
We had a pretty set idea of what form of ceramics we wanted to be produced - and what the circumstances should be like. However, we did not know that the path to find the right producer would be so challenging.
We started our search with a detailed research, which led us to the wrong producers but at least to the right region. We were disappointed by our scheduled appointments, as the manufactures mostly produced flower pots- or they turned out to be big factories, which were skillfully mass producing handmade-looking products. What we really wanted was pottery straight from the potter’s wheel- and not from a market leader but rather from people who could use a big order.
So one appointment took us along a „ceramic street.“ To our left and right, we spotted aging signs pointing to small manufactories. Walking through the web of streets around this „ceramic street“ we suddenly stood in front of an appealing sign. The owner of this manufactory understood what we were looking for, without having to talk, and he provided us with a crucial tip. Not long after, we drove just a few streets and were suddenly standing in the stony yard of a ceramic manufactory owned by a Portuguese family. We were overcome by a strange feeling, as if we had immediately known that we would be visiting this place quite regularly in the future.
A large green door opened to reveal a room shrouded in white dust and filled with bustling people. At the very back, three experienced potters sat in front of their disks and were producing salad bowls. Old ladies in floral dresses sat in a circle working on cups. In the middle of the room we saw a large kiln. The pottery is made from stoneware, which is freshly mixed on site. The raw product comes from the region and has a greyish color before firing. It is finely pored and becomes almost white after firing.
Mario had just taken over the management of the family business from his father and we were his first customers. He was also our first producer. That was the beginning of a creative, cordial and unusual collaboration.